America is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and this may have something to do with the sheer size of it- the US has the largest number of airports in the world, coming in at 13,513 places to fly into and out of! The US culture is one of the most intriguing for so many of us because the country is such a mixture of cultures and is relatively new when you compare how long it has been established in comparison to some countries in Europe. If you are looking to travel to the United States of America and are feeling a little nervous about getting by in a country that is so similar in some ways and so different in other ways to our own, our guide is here to help!
Beware of the tax at the tills!
Unlike in the UK, it is important to remember that US price tags will not show you how much tax the item carries until you are at the till. The amount you will be taxed varies from state to state but keep in mind that you could see your final payment amount be between 4% and 6% once you’ve put all your goods through the till. As long as you always assume there will be 10% mark up on your goods, you should be all set for that shopping spree!
You will need an ESTA
Travellers from the UK need to be aware that under the Visa Waiver Programme they are exempt from having to get a visa but are required to apply for an ESTA. An ESTA is an electronic system for travel authorisation and is an automated system used to allow UK citizens to travel into the States following a risk assessment being conducted. The ESTA is fairly quick to fill out and affordable too as it last for two years, allowing you to travel to America freely within that time frame before having to reapply.
Spare your phone bill
While it may be manageable to use your mobile phone whilst abroad in Europe, it is important to note that it becomes all the more expensive to use your phone in the states. Roaming charges in America will end up costing you an art and a leg if you’re not careful, so be sure to always use free WiFi and turn your data roaming off whenever possible.
Don’t forget to tip
How many of us carry change nowadays really? Well, in America you may well have to. Tipping in the states is a part of everyday life and you will find yourself having to tip everyone from the bus driver to the restaurant staff. Stock up on dollar bills for your own peace of mind and ease of travel as it will ensure you will always have something there to cover your tipping needs.
Your accent will catch attention
As everyone says, American people are very friendly and you may well find yourself having to explain yourself if you speak with a British accent. Some UK and Aussie travellers have suggested it may be easier to drop into an American accent in order to speed up how quickly you get something done/ get served etc.